Wednesday, June 18, 2008

87% of Faculty at Elite Colleges Are Liberal, and UC Faculty Are Worried About Milton Friedman?

Chicago Tribune -- In a letter to University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer, 101 professors—about 8% of the university's full-time faculty—said they feared that having a center named after the conservative, free-market economist Milton Friedman could "reinforce among the public a perception that the university's faculty lacks intellectual and ideological diversity."

About a half-dozen faculty members aired their concerns Tuesday in a meeting with Zimmer and Provost Thomas Rosenbaum, who remain committed to the project.

"It is a right-wing think tank being put in place," said Bruce Lincoln, a professor of the history of religions and one of the faculty members who met with the administration Tuesday. "The long-term consequences will be very severe. This will be a flagship entity and it will attract a lot of money and a lot of attention, and I think work at the university and the university's reputation will take a serious rightward turn to the detriment of all."

Now wait a minute. First of all, Milton Friedman's political philosophy could be more accurately described as libertarian, and not conservative. Exhibits A and B: Friedman supported legalization (or decriminalization) of both prostitution and drugs, and both positions are associated much more with liberals and Democrats, than with conservatives and Republicans.

Secondly, college faculty are worried that a "conservative" center on a college campus would reinforce a perception that university faculty lack intellectual and ideological diversity?
"Give me a Stossel!"

By their own description, 72% of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15% are conservative. (In comparison, only 39% of college faculty identified themselves as liberal in 1984.) The current disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where 87% of faculty are liberal and 13% are conservative (that's almost a 7:1 ratio), according to a study cited in the
Washington Post.

And faculty have the nerve to object to a Friedman Center because they're worried about intellectual diversity? Where's their concern about underrepresented ideologies?


At 6/18/2008 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liberal diversity is accepting of anyone who agrees with them.

At 6/18/2008 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more.

At 6/19/2008 1:03 AM, Blogger happyjuggler0 said...

I think it is utterly ludicrous to describe MF as a conservative.

He was a libertarian, which means that he chose to disendorse the notion that government ought to be able to force people to act in a liberal or conservative manner.

You can be a conservative, or a liberal, or a hybrid of the two (such as myself, and the majority of Americans) and also be a libertarian.

At 6/19/2008 1:07 AM, Blogger happyjuggler0 said...

Sadly there are many people who think diversity of meaningless criteria such as skin color is of paramount importance, while diversity of opinion is something they are allergic to.

At 6/19/2008 2:03 AM, Blogger das Kapitalist said...

When your ideas are bankrupt, any challenge is frightening and must be stopped.

And if you think academia is hostile to Friedman, try questioning Darwin. You will be run out on a rail for thought crime.

At 6/19/2008 4:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite a conundrum, isn't it?

At 6/19/2008 6:32 AM, Blogger Tim Schilling said...

As someone pointed out on another blog, chances are pretty good that those objecting are not in the economics department.

At 6/19/2008 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Love the graphic!

What is truly funny is watching liberals try to debate with Milton Friedman who deconstructs their arguments and invalidates each point with charm, humor and devastating logic. The only way it seems that the argument can be won is to cut off debate.

It's amazing that MF's ideas are still frightening.

At 6/19/2008 9:46 AM, Blogger Shawn said...

anyone have links to some video of Archmage Friedman discussing/debating with anyone? I've seen one or two, but who's got some stuff?

At 6/23/2008 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll bet those 101 U. of C. faculty members would have no problem with naming their Law School after Barack Obama, even though that might give people the impression that it was an ultra-left-wing institution.


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